Tag: Harbinger

Characters I Love # 25: Harbinger

Art by George Perez

Every so often, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Harbinger! This character was really Lyla Michaels and she was introduced in New Teen Titans Annual # 2 (July 1983), though she didn’t become Harbinger until Crisis on Infinite Earths # 1 (April 1985). As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of the characters introduced in Crisis (Pariah, Lady Quark, the female Doctor Light, etc.) and Harbinger is no exception. Rescued from certain death by the Monitor, Lyla became his assistant as he prepared to deal with the looming Crisis. Lyla was transformed into Harbinger and given the task of splitting herself into many forms so she could recruit heroes to stop the Anti-Monitor.

After the Crisis, she was responsible for cataloging the history of the new universe and helping defend it. For a while, she hung out with the New Guardians and tried to help them usher in the new stage of human evolution. She eventually forged close friendships with the other ‘survivors’ like Lady Quark and Pariah, as well as becoming something of a mentor to Supergirl upon the young Kryptonian’s arrival on Earth. She was eventually killed by the Female Furies while helping to defend Themyscira from Darkseid.

Harbinger was revived as a Black Lantern during Blackest Night but she was destroyed along with all the others at the end of the event. There has been no sign of her in the New 52.

Harbinger could have — and should have — been treated like a major new female hero in the DCU. But writers never seemed to know what to do with her and editorial found her connection to the old continuity to be a troublesome spot.

What could have been!

Here are some other artistic visions of Lyla:

Art by Joe Staton
Art by Michael Turner
Art by George Perez


Characters I Love # 5: Pariah

Pariah_0001Every Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Pariah, the tortured DC Comics’ character first introduced in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I really can’t describe why I love this character. On the surface, he’s almost comical. Cursed by causing the accident which released the Anti-Monitor onto the multiverse, Pariah would teleport from universe to universe, bearing witness to that reality’s demise. He would cry a lot and talk about how much he wished he could help but he knew it would do no good. Eventually, he teamed up with Harbinger and other heroes of the multiverse to stand against the Anti-Monitor. With that villain’s defeat, Pariah took to wandering the post-Crisis DC Universe, usually with survivors Lady Quark & Harbinger in tow (I also really like Harbinger). Pariah made a few appearances over the years, popping up in the Titans book during the Titans Hunt storyline, guest-starred in DC Comics Presents and eventually ended up as a Black Lantern during the Green Lantern-centric crossover, Blackest Night.

Pariah was a genius-level scientist and his powers included immortality, invulnerability and flight. I also assume he could translate any language automatically since he never seemed to encounter anyone he couldn’t understand.

I really love his crazy outfit — the funky belt, the long boots, the cloak with the hood that can be raised. I also like his guy-liner eyes!

I always had this strange desire to take this seemingly worthless character and do a whole series about him. I could make it work — I’d play up the redemption angle, having him seek out these disasters but allow him to actually intervene and save as many people as possible. It would never be enough in his own eyes to undo all the damage that his arrogance had caused, however. I think the notion of an immortal witness to disasters, both great and small, could have tremendous potential.

Pariah has popped up in DC’s New 52 Universe, as he was seen in one panel of Vibe # 1. Apparently, he’s currently a prisoner of the United States government. His current origin is unknown.